2078 Shadow of a Doubt
by Florence Watson
If you like dystopian sci-fi you’ll like this; if you like murder mysteries you’ll like this; if you’re into conspiracy theories you’ll like this; but above all if you enjoy a good yarn you’ll like this.
Set in 2078 in the south of England, Florence Watson’s debut novel features Starla, a hardworking young woman who adheres unerringly to The Manual, a government-produced guide for healthy living that all citizens are expected to follow. In a society where health is wealth and self-reliance is key, there is no room for sympathy for those less fortunate, yet Starla is determined to care for her ailing father rather than send him to one of the state-run Health Farms.
Starla’s life takes an unexpected turn when, against the ‘common sense’ of The Manual, she follows a man to whom she has become strangely drawn and everything she knows to be true is challenged, rocking the very foundation of her life. Her real nature is gradually revealed as she struggles to reconcile these revelations with the world she has always known.
Written with surprising confidence for a debut novel, 2078 moves along at a good pace while packing in enough detail to make this futuristic world believable. Watson expertly maintains the story arc, nudging us to the edge of our seats as the book nears its conclusion.
I have to say that, although sci-fi isn’t my top genre, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was invested in the characters and intrigued by the world the author has created, so familiar yet with spookily alien elements and, given the state of the world just now – where advances in technology are being made daily and conspiracy theories abound – quite believable.
As the book ends on something of a cliffhanger I’m greatly looking forward to the sequel, at which point I can get off the edge of my seat.
2078 Shadow of a Doubt is available via florencewatson.wordpress.com where you can also find more information about her.
Ex-Brightonian Florence Watson now lives in Worthing with her husband and three sons. She likes Worthing as she can think clearly and create there. She started writing 2078 about six years ago and wasn’t sure where the story was going at first. All she knew about her heroine was that she was living sometime in the future and that she couldn’t afford to buy chocolate.